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The Psychology Of Political Ideology

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by It Aint Necessarily So, Jan 14, 2022.

  1. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    I thought that this link was interesting:

    "Studies have consistently shown that turning liberals into conservatives (at least temporarily) is surprisingly easy. All you need to do is scare them.

    "For example, one group of experimenters asked students to think about their own death before taking tests designed to assess their political beliefs. Over several experiments, the researchers, from the University of Central Arkansas, found that when the participants had been asked to think about their own death they became more conservative, and had attitudes in line with their conservative classmates on issues from capital punishment and abortion, to rights for gay employees.

    "The theory goes that the liberal students became much more socially conservative than the control group (who thought about television) because thinking about their own death made them feel vulnerable."

    “Moreover, defensive conservatism appears to be a general psychological response to vulnerability that is not necessarily strategically linked to the eliciting threats.”

    "Now researchers have discovered an easy way to do the reverse – turn conservatives into liberals. Psychologist John Bargh has written about experiments his team conducted in which he managed to turn conservatives liberal through another thought experiment.

    "It turns out the way to do this is to make them visualize themselves as Superman. Just as taking off Clark Kent's glasses turned him into Superman, picturing yourself as Superman turns conservatives into people who care about the poor.

    "In John Bargh's book Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do he writes that he and his team asked participants to picture themselves as Superman. They were asked to really picture what it would be like to be as invincible as Superman – Business Insider reports – where bullets, fire, and falling off a cliff wouldn't hurt them. The control group was asked to picture themselves merely having the ability to fly.

    "The participants were then asked to rate statements to assess their political beliefs. This time the experimenters found that it was conservatives' beliefs that shifted. They became – albeit briefly – more socially liberal than they were, whilst liberals' attitudes remained unchanged by the thought experiment.

    "The authors say that this is the first time experimental evidence has shown that making people feel safe can make them feel more liberal.​

    This feels spot on. When you feel safe, you are more likely to want to share ("socialist") and embrace others (tolerance). When you feel threatened, you build walls, buy more guns, and try to keep people who don't look or speak like you, and those whom you feel intend to replace you, out of power and influence. Fear becomes anger.

    Any thoughts about the validity of this way of framing this?
     
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  2. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    I am a socialist not because I feel safe

    But because I understood the élites' trick: Divide et impera.

    That is they know that the people (shopkeepers, farmers, factory workers) are an invincible force. So they need to unleash hatred, to stir things up, so these people will hate one another.
    Conservative vs Liberals.
    But they are just one people.

    I as a socialist want another struggle: people vs élites.


    So the experiment really confirms my theory that we are one people.
    Against the same enemies.
     
    #2 Estro Felino, Jan 14, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
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  3. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    I think it more relates as to whether one has more or less compassion for others, and I have read studies in the past that have pretty much confirmed that.


    This post is a one & out as I'm pretty much avoiding political "discussions", at least for the time being.
     
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  4. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    "Liberal" & "conservative" seem the wrong terms because
    they also include orientations towards social permissiveness,
    business regulation, civil liberties, etc.
    Perhaps "generous" vs "circle the wagons" would be better?
     
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  5. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    Since i weave not, neither do I spin,
    I am not a person but an enemy to all
    people.
     
  6. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    You're safe around well-to-do heathens.
     
  7. anna.

    anna. Tried and waited then got tired, that's about it

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    So... elites aren't just people too? And where do you draw the line between people and not people? How elite do they have to do before they become your enemy? One car? One TV? One cellphone? More?
     
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  8. anna.

    anna. Tried and waited then got tired, that's about it

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    As a former conservative, I can give you my anecdotal story, how my change from conservative to moderately liberal came about as a result of exposure to new and different ideas from non-threatening sources. For those who go to college after high school, it can come sooner, but I didn't start college until I was middle-aged so I didn't have that. I went from a conservative upbringing to conservative adulthood, reading conservative articles and listening to conservative talk radio (cringe).

    It seems the conservative bubble is even stronger now than it was when I popped mine around 2012 because it was pre-Trump, pre-MAGA, pre-QAnon, pre-Jan 6, pre-Gab and Parler and Rumble. But - Rush and all his spawn had populated the airwaves for years and I pinpoint that as when radicalization started to become a binding force. Then Tea Party time, when facebook was in its infancy but Fox was ubiquitous, and we'd had the nerve to elect a Black president.

    Before about 2010, everything I read, everything I encountered online was from conservative sources. I literally didn't read anything that would challenge my POV. I know from experience, from living with and around conservatives, that it's a common thing. It wasn't until on a whim I joined an online forum that had a cohort of reasonable, patient, interesting and knowledgeable "liberals" and "leftists" (whether they were leftist or not didn't matter, if they weren't right-wing, they were leftists). I debated with them from the right, but because the debates were friendly, I was open to admitting when they had a point. About that time, I started college (and graduated, following after my kids).

    It took a couple years for me to realize how closed my mind had been, how suspicious of opposing views, and of change. It's a whole new world out there now, and I have specific people to thank for that, and specific classes in university.

    In a nutshell: conservatism thrives on a closed mind. Behind mental and spiritual battlements. So when you talk about building walls, I agree with you. But not just building from fear. Building also from suspicion, ignorance, close-mindedness and (religious) intolerance. You can have the nicest, sweetest conservative who would seem to belie all those things, but it's likely because they haven't been challenged. They're living in their bubble, and they're happy there. Challenging that happiness would bring cognitive dissonance and that would be uncomfortable, and why would they want to do that?
     
    #8 anna., Jan 14, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
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  9. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    On the face of it, it sounds ridiculous. But if it could be useful to me at the next election when I'm standing on doorsteps talking to voters, then I'm all ears.
     
  10. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    Those who own the power of Seigniorage Banking.
    Those are the enemies of the people.
    Not the entrepreneurs who gained their own money honestly.
     
    #10 Estro Felino, Jan 14, 2022
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  11. wandering peacefully

    wandering peacefully Which way to the woods?

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    It is an interesting idea and makes sense to a point. But when you see the Mitch McConnells of the world, and how prevelent they are within conservative thinking groups, it seems they already think they are gods and don't need to share wealth or a secure lifestyle with the less fortunate. So maybe it would work at the lower levels of conservatism but when you get closer to the top of who actually makes or breaks the rules, the top dogs still don't give a rat's behind about anyone but themselves and theirs I think.
     
  12. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    Eze. Non persons such as my family organize, fund and operate the businesses and buildings where real people live and work.
     
  13. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    These days interest rates are quite low.
    Thats really a terrific thing for the working
    class, dont you think?
    It doesnt help the rich, quite the opposite.
     
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